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The Devil’s Dictionary

The Devil’s Dictionary by Ambrose Bierce
By: (1842-1914?)

Ambrose Bierce (1842 – 1914?), satirist, critic, poet, short story writer and journalist. His fiction showed a clean economical style often sprinkled with subtle cynical comments on human behaviour. In the Devil’s Dictionary, he let his sense of humour and his cynical outlook on life colour a collection of dictionary-like definitions. (Summary by Peter)

First Page:

THE DEVIL'S DICTIONARY

by Ambrose Bierce

AUTHOR'S PREFACE

The Devil's Dictionary was begun in a weekly paper in 1881, and was continued in a desultory way at long intervals until 1906. In that year a large part of it was published in covers with the title The Cynic's Word Book , a name which the author had not the power to reject or happiness to approve. To quote the publishers of the present work:

"This more reverent title had previously been forced upon him by the religious scruples of the last newspaper in which a part of the work had appeared, with the natural consequence that when it came out in covers the country already had been flooded by its imitators with a score of 'cynic' books The Cynic's This , The Cynic's That , and The Cynic's t'Other . Most of these books were merely stupid, though some of them added the distinction of silliness. Among them, they brought the word 'cynic' into disfavor so deep that any book bearing it was discredited in advance of publication."

Meantime, too, some of the enterprising humorists of the country had helped themselves to such parts of the work as served their needs, and many of its definitions, anecdotes, phrases and so forth, had become more or less current in popular speech... Continue reading book >>


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